To Please the Tenant, Please the Dog
Who cares about leases? It's leashes that matter. These days, pets are like children, and they've become an integral part of the renter's decision-making process.
AMLI began incorporating pet amenities in its properties about eight years ago, and interest continues to grow exponentially, SVP Traci Hall (snapped shivering next to an ice sculpture) tells us. AMLI River North, one of its latest Chicago projects, has a paw wash and rooftop pet park, where owners can bond with each other and their animals. “People are highly emotional about their pets,” Traci says. “It's all about creating those connection points.” Some AMLI residents host events they affectionately call Yappy Hours, where the dogs roam leash-free (or try their luck on the fire hydrants and agility stations). Other features in AMLI developments range from pet spas to high-end pet vending machines (think bejeweled collars, treats, fancy shampoo... and stuff for your pet as well).
Here's a paw wash, featuring animal-friendly steps, a tub, sprayer, and dryers. At garden-style properties, AMLI's tried fenced-in personal pet yards that range from $50 to $200 depending on the size. (Though the grass needs to be replaced more frequently, you can guess why.) And you can't forget move-in gifts, Traci adds. They've educated leasing consultants to take note of any pets moving in and provide a personalized welcome treat (dog bowls, leashes, collars, etc.). Early adopters of these pawesome trends include Atlanta, Austin, and Denver, though Chicago’s urban properties are creatively catching up. (Less yards, more rooftops.)
We had to feature Traci's own adorable pooch. (Dusty, a Chihuahua/ Pomeranian mix, will turn 9 on July 4.) The pet craze has its challenges, she tells us, since not everyone wants to live around furry friends. AMLI properties might incorporate pet floors or pet elevators to create some separation. Keeping pet bathroom habits contained is another issue, so they'll strategically place dog waste bags throughout the community (even in the elevator) and they've engineered pet parks to have wash off and drainage systems to avoid any unpleasant smells. In leash-free zones, someone might have to referee a dispute between a German Shepard and a pug (our money's on the pug) now that pet weight limits have increased, she notes. All in all, things seem to be looking good for Fido.